According to reports, a dual initial public offering (IPO) – one in Hong Kong and the other in Shanghai, is being planned by billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Group within the next few weeks, according to reports. The company is aiming to attain a valuation of about $225 billion form the listings.
Reports quoting sources with knowledge of the matter said that the company is targeting to raise as much as $30 billion in total under favorable market conditions from the listings. Reports also confirmed that the Hangzhou-based firm is aiming to start selling shares of the company simultaneously from the Hong Kong stock exchange and the tech-focused Star board in Shanghai. The tentative date for the listing could be as soon as October, said reports quoting sources.
For Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder Ma, Ant is a prized asset as the company generated a profit of about $1.3 billion in the March quarter. Having started off as a fintech platform, Ant has transformed itself into an online mall that offers for everything to consumer – from loans and travel services to food delivery. The aim of this business strategy of the company is to win back shoppers that Tencent Holdings Ltd had lost. Ant is also making a broad push into financial services as the company offers technology such as robo investing as well as lending platforms and furthering its advisory business. Ant has access to data of almost a billion users of its Alipay app.
According to data compiled by Bloomberg, if the company manages a dual listing worth $30 billion, it could be the biggest IPO globally ever – surpassing that of the Saudi Arabian oil giant Saudi Aramco whose IPO was at a record $29.4 billion. And if Ant manages to gain market valuation of $225 billion, it would be larger than Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley combined.
Reports however also cautioned there can be change s to the plans of the company including details of the share sale.
No comment on the reports was available from Ant.
For Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd., where there has been a rise in Chinese tech listings following it relaxing some of the norms for listing in order to compete with New York where the biggest of the Chinese tech firms went out to get listed, the listing of Ant will be a big booster.
It would use the funds raised to “further pursue [its] vision to digitalise the service industry”, the Ant Group said in its stock market filing. The filing however contained no details of the either the timetable or size of the IPO.
The e-commerce business Alibaba owns about 33 per cent of the Ant Group.
According to the stock market filing, Ant Group generated revenues of 72.5bn yuan ($10.5bn) in the first half of the current year which was almost 40 per cent more than he revenues for the company in the same period a year ago. In the same period, the company also increased its profits by about 12 times 21.9bn yuan which underscored the benefits that the company had derived because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)